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Thread: Sorry-organic farming is actually worse for climate change

  1. #1
    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Default Sorry-organic farming is actually worse for climate change

    As any old-school farmer and author Robert A. Heinlein could have told them; TANSTAAFL

    MIT Technology Review...

    Nature Communications Paper...

    Sorry-organic farming is actually worse for climate change

    The practice cuts greenhouse-gas emissions only if you ignore the inconvenient fact that it requires a lot more land.


    Organic practices can reduce climate pollution produced directly from farming which would be fantastic if they didnt also require more land to produce the same amount of food.

    Clearing additional grasslands or forests to grow enough food to make up for that difference would release far more greenhouse gas than the practices initially reduce, a new study in Nature Communications finds.

    Other recent research has also concluded that organic farming produces more climate pollution than conventional practices when the additional land required is taken into account. In the new paper, researchers at the UKs Cranfield University took a broad look at the question by analyzing what would happen if all of England and Wales shifted entirely to these practices.
    >
    Also,

    New Scientist...

    "The key message from my perspective is that you can't really have your cake and eat it," says Laurence Smith, now at the Royal Agricultural University in the UK, who was part of the team that performed the analysis. Smith is a proponent of organic farming and says "there are a lot of benefits to the organic approach". But his analysis shows organic farming has downsides too.
    Dr. Mordrid
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    Super MURCer Evildead666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Mordrid View Post
    As any old-school farmer and author Robert A. Heinlein could have told them; TANSTAAFL

    MIT Technology Review...

    Nature Communications Paper...



    Also,

    New Scientist...
    Yes, there are some downsides, but industrial Farming takes up more space than before when it was done by hand.
    It all comes down to economics of scale, and what is possible.
    Organic Farming is possible up to a small scale, just not massive industrial scale.

    edit : just got the Nature.com article as a PDF for later reading, looking at the NewScientist bit now...

    We survived pretty damned well mixing crops, to stave of the natural predators, and that worked fine.
    (Yes, there were a lot less of us back then, but aren't we having this problem now because there are too many of us ?)
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    Moderator Dr Mordrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evildead666 View Post
    Yes, there are some downsides, but industrial Farming takes up more space than before when it was done by hand.

    It all comes down to economics of scale, and what is possible.

    Organic Farming is possible up to a small scale, just not massive industrial scale.
    Necessary to feed more people.

    edit : just got the Nature.com article as a PDF for later reading, looking at the NewScientist bit now...

    We survived pretty damned well mixing crops, to stave of the natural predators, and that worked fine.

    (Yes, there were a lot less of us back then, but aren't we having this problem now because there are too many of us ?)
    UN studies show 9.7 billion about 2050, then 11 billion by 2100 followed by a decline. Highest growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

    I think it'll level off sooner due to disease and war in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and possible unrest in China.
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    Moderator dZeus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Mordrid View Post
    Necessary to feed more people.
    Doubt anyone sensible is proposing to go full organic agriculture to feed the whole world, so that's a not very interesting argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Mordrid View Post
    UN studies show 9.7 billion about 2050, then 11 billion by 2100 followed by a decline. Highest growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

    I think it'll level off sooner due to disease and war in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and possible unrest in China.
    I'd wager that there are plenty of other factors that will bring this date forward, much further even than 2050:
    - peak cheap oil driving up prices of agricultural products, leading to civil unrest in countries where a large percentage of disposable income already is spent on food
    - dwindling fresh water supplies driving up prices of food and leading to higher cost of living (desalination at scale is very expensive in terms of energy and thus costs)
    - increasing number of extreme weather anomalies negatively affecting crop yields (result of climate change, anthropogenic or not)
    - disarray in financial markets / currency systems (too much debt in the system that cannot be repaid)

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